Following a successful three-year pilot project to assist low-income renters in crisis, Mayor Gregor Robertson is highlighting the success of the Vancouver Rent Bank. Council will vote next week on a grant of $99,200 to contribute to the program’s operations for two more years.
“In a city where 52% of households rent their homes, far too many families know what it’s like to face an unexpected crisis and stay afloat in paying the rent,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The Vancouver Rent Bank has proven itself as a remarkably successful tool to help low-income renters keep their homes in times of incredible difficulty. It’s a program that prevents homelessness and provides housing stability for families in need, and I look forward to supporting it again next week at City Council.”
The Vancouver Rent Bank is a multi-partner initiative jointly funded by the City of Vancouver and a variety of community partners. In 2012, City Council approved a grant of $148,800 over three years to support its operating costs.
After two and half years of operation, the Vancouver Rent Bank had approved 264 loans with a total value of 226,500, impacting over 413 people, including 91 children. The provision of loans over this time period housed 15 homeless individuals and prevented 235 evictions (including 126 households who had directly received an eviction notice at the time they sought help from the Rent Bank), resulting in significant cost savings through the prevention of homelessness.
The City’s proposed contribution of $99,200 over two years towards operating costs will continue to leverage capital funding from Streetohome Foundation’s initial investment ($365,800) as well as operating funding from NICCSS ($51,800), Vancity Community Foundation and the Canadian Women’s Foundation. The investment builds on a record $61 million committed for affordable housing in this year’s Vancouver capital budget, and follows a recent request by Council for a report back from the Renters Advisory Committee on suggestions for key changes to the provincial Residential Tenancy Act that could provide better support for renters.
For the full City of Vancouver staff report on the Vancouver Rent Bank, click here: